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For Book: Shortwave Radio Questions
Old 02-11-2019, 11:16 AM   #1
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For Book: Shortwave Radio Questions

In the year 2031, a man will find himself alone on a well-equipped ocean-going sailboat. He has no experience with radios.

Q 1: Will he be able to figure out how to use the radio to call for help (there's no manual)?

Q 2: Back on land, if he went into a deserted radio store (everyone else is dead), would he be able to buy and figure out how to use a shortwave radio (again, no manual, because in 2031 all manuals are online, and the internet is down)?
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Old 02-11-2019, 11:43 AM   #2
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Al,
We need more info about his background and capabilities. Is he a Luddite or an electronics person or somewhere in between.
As an example for your question 2 at the store. would the person even know what a shortwave radio looks like?
I have been a ham radio operator most of my adult life and could get something up and running, but for the average person,it will be difficult.
On question 1, does the ship have a satellite phone, and an EPIRB beacon?
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Old 02-11-2019, 11:55 AM   #3
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Al,
We need more info about his background and capabilities. Is he a Luddite or an electronics person or somewhere in between.
As an example for your question 2 at the store. would the person even know what a shortwave radio looks like?
I have been a ham radio operator most of my adult life and could get something up and running, but for the average person,it will be difficult.
On question 1, does the ship have a satellite phone, and an EPIRB beacon?
He used to be an accountant, then he became a private investigator. Not a Luddite. He's computer literate, but has zero electronics knowledge. I'm assuming he could recognize the radio. I'm thinking it would look something like this:



Satellite phone? Maybe.

EPIRB? Yes. He will find that later, after trying to use the radio. He will activate it.
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Old 02-11-2019, 12:04 PM   #4
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>As an example for your question 2 at the store. would the person even know what a shortwave radio looks like?

My thinking is that he passes a mom-and-pop type shop that sells ham radio equipment. He realizes that that might be a good way to find out if there are any other people still alive.

He buys a transceiver and starts scanning the airwaves, trying to find someone transmitting. Again, no knowledge of what frequencies to try, etc. No knowledge of setting up an SW antenna. He can't get help from the Internet because it's down.

Libraries are rare in 2031 because everyone uses eBooks, but maybe he can find a paper book about how to use a ham radio.
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For Book: Shortwave Radio Questions
Old 02-11-2019, 12:10 PM   #5
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For Book: Shortwave Radio Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
In the year 2031, a man will find himself alone on a well-equipped ocean-going sailboat. He has no experience with radios.



Q 1: Will he be able to figure out how to use the radio to call for help (there's no manual)?



Q 2: Back on land, if he went into a deserted radio store (everyone else is dead), would he be able to buy and figure out how to use a shortwave radio (again, no manual, because in 2031 all manuals are online, and the internet is down)?

When the apocalypse happens, To find a ham radio. I would wander around a suburban neighbor hood till I saw a house with big attenae on it. Then I know I’ve found a ham radio hobbyist house. Given the nature of the hobby there is some likelihood of a small generator or solar setup and printed manuals also
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Old 02-11-2019, 02:07 PM   #6
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Ham antennas here are usually on their own separate tower (30-40' or more high)
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Old 02-11-2019, 02:09 PM   #7
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When the apocalypse happens, To find a ham radio. I would wander around a suburban neighbor hood till I saw a house with big attenae on it. Then I know I’ve found a ham radio hobbyist house. Given the nature of the hobby there is some likelihood of a small generator or solar setup and printed manuals also
Nice! That's a better idea.
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Old 02-11-2019, 02:42 PM   #8
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He buys a transceiver and starts scanning the airwaves, trying to find someone

Is he really going to “buy” a transceiver? Is he going to leave cash on the counter for the proprietor who is probably dead? Seems like he would just take whatever he needs; no consequences if he is the only one left.
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Old 02-11-2019, 02:43 PM   #9
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Is he really going to “buy” a transceiver? Is he going to leave cash on the counter for the proprietor who is probably dead? Seems like he would just take whatever he needs; no consequences if he is the only one left.
Quite right.
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Old 02-11-2019, 04:54 PM   #10
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What's this guy going to do for power if the apocalypse has happened?
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Old 02-11-2019, 05:10 PM   #11
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What's this guy going to do for power if the apocalypse has happened?
At the start, he's going to "pick up" a big-ass diesel generator. He recognizes that fuel will go bad (looks like diesel, gasoline, and kerosene all go bad). He'll add fuel stabilizer, which should make the diesel last for more than five years. That is, he'll go to a gas station, estimate how much diesel fuel is in the underground tank, and dump in stabilizer. He'll calculate how much he will need per year (he used the be the president's accountant, so he's good with numbers).

Or, he might find a house with a working solar power system.

Eventually, those things won't work, but perhaps he'll be done with the ham radio by then.

If he goes looking for other survivors, he'll "pick up" one of these:



Or maybe:

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Old 02-11-2019, 05:29 PM   #12
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Al, If it's a mom and pop store they will have manuals and books on using the equipment. A mom and pop would more likely save things like that, hoarding in the storage room for years.
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Old 02-11-2019, 05:42 PM   #13
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Al, If it's a mom and pop store they will have manuals and books on using the equipment. A mom and pop would more likely save things like that, hoarding in the storage room for years.
My thinking is that companies will stop producing physical manuals in, say, 2021 or so. Perhaps that's just my perspective. I started using electronic manuals when my house burned in 1991. Microsoft replaced my programming software, but not the physical manuals.

Whenever I buy something these days, I find the manual online, check that it matches the paper one, download it, and throw away the paper copy. My iMac only came with a getting started manual.

I think manufacturers will get rid of paper manuals faster than car makers got rid of spare tires. An aspect the book might examine will be "what if we no longer have any paper information around and the internet goes down?"

But I'll think about it.
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Old 02-11-2019, 06:02 PM   #14
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My thinking is that companies will stop producing physical manuals in, say, 2021 or so. Perhaps that's just my perspective. I started using electronic manuals when my house burned in 1991. Microsoft replaced my programming software, but not the physical manuals.
Or- a product such as this. On Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/Elenco-AM-FM-...00655104&psc=1
(it says it has an instruction manual. Perhaps more kids' stuff would still have them?)

Remember-Amazon is building out local megadistribution centers at numerous places across the country. Odds are, this Mad Max survivor would find such a distribution center to be the motherlode of equipment.

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Or maybe:


My personal favorite choice from one of my childhood favorite movies would be:http://www.electricsheepmagazine.co....ey-594x401.jpg
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Old 02-11-2019, 09:58 PM   #15
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My thinking is that companies will stop producing physical manuals in, say, 2021 or so. ...
If you follow the path suggested earlier - looking for a house with a big antenna. It's likely that a HAM would have some old equipment and would have printed manuals for it. All part of the 'charm' of older electronics.

Daniels MT-2 and MT-3 Series Equipment



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Old 02-11-2019, 10:13 PM   #16
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Probably not too hard to get the radio going. Everyone can press a mic button.

Finding a frequency someone might be listening to (especially if you're the last person), and verifying that you are actually transmitting are the two big radio problems I can think of quickly. As a Ham, you're always wondering if your signal is going anywhere if you aren't getting any responses. Maybe the guy gets two radios and figures out how to communicate between the two. That would take care of the learning part.


A large antenna would be nice if he wants to go long distances. And make sure it's really an HF radio, not 2 meters or some other short range radio.
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Old 02-11-2019, 11:33 PM   #17
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If T-Al's person moves the transceiver elsewhere, or has antenna problems, he'll have to learn about a totally different type of SWR
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Old 02-12-2019, 07:52 AM   #18
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If T-Al's person moves the transceiver elsewhere, or has antenna problems, he'll have to learn about a totally different type of SWR
Very good! Love a good geek/tech joke!

Sometimes called VSWR (and no, that's not Variable Safe Withdraw Rate!).

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Old 02-12-2019, 08:00 AM   #19
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If he were to find a battery powered radio or rigged one to work on solar, as I recall from my ham days he would likely get more range by using morse code instead of voice over a lower frequency like the 20 or 40 meter band.
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Old 02-12-2019, 08:46 AM   #20
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If he were to find a battery powered radio or rigged one to work on solar, as I recall from my ham days he would likely get more range by using morse code instead of voice over a lower frequency like the 20 or 40 meter band.
That gives me an idea: He could hear Morse code over the radio he finds, then have to try to write it down so that he can interpret it. But he has to find a book that describes Morse code.
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